A six-member crew of oceanographers and tourism explorers has sailed off Salima beaches of Lake Malawi for a 52-day expedition, dubbed “Calendar Lake Project” aiming to tell the story of Lake Malawi from a different angle.
The expedition is sponsored by mobile telecoms operator, TNM Plc, listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) to the tune of K22.2 million including internet support using the company’s 4G and 3G platforms.
Tourism Minister Francis Kasaila commended mobile telecoms and ICT services network provider TNM Plc for its role in promoting Malawi’s tourism potential.
Speaking in Salima where TNM plc has sponsored the Lake Malawi exploration through Kumbali Lodge, Kasaila said the mobile operator has demonstrated over the years that is a truly Malawian company by unflinchingly supporting Malawian tourism.
“TNM are always with us in tourism. Being a Malawian-owned company, they never get tired of supporting many causes in the sector and government is proud of them,” he said.
TNM is an annual sponsor of major tourism events namely the Mulanje Porters Race which promotes eco-tourism on Mulanje Mountain and the Lake Malawi Triathlone at Cape Maclear in Mangochi.
Kasaila challenged tour operators and developers to do more on promoting Lake Malawi by properly packaging its offers and marketing them to both tourists and tourism investors.
“There is more we need to discover about the lake. As a Ministry, we are taking full advantage of this expedition to re-discover what Lake Malawi is all about, and to develop new products to use in advertising Lake Malawi to the international community,” he said.
TNM CEO Michiel Buitelaar whose company has pumped K22.2 million for the project said the sponsorship reaffirms TNM’s commitment to create possibilities through promoting Lake Malawi, one of the country’s largest natural and tourism assets.
“Our involvement in this tour expedition is a continuation of our efforts to apply technology as catalyst for socio-economic transformation. The project will take Malawi to another level through showcasing tourism sceneries and historical perspective of the country through its signature lake,” he said.
Buitelaar said TNM will provide mobile internet connectivity through its 4G and 3G networks during the duration of the journey.
Kumbali Lodges CEO Maureen Pickering whose company is the brain-child of the expedition said it came about as a result of a desire to create a positive image of the lake and country.
“The lack of positive exposure was the key to planting a seed about this lake discovery. The project helps us see the lake from the water’s edge, interacting with local communities, visiting less travelled sites and observing culture, landscape, wildlife, fauna and flora, and histories of people we meet enroute,” she said.
Dubbed the “Calendar Lake Project,” the expedition will produce a television documentary and other media information aiming to promote Lake Malawi’s biodiversity, ecotourism, and cultures across its entire breadth.
Also known as “David Livingstone’s Lake of Stars”, Lake Malawi covers nearly the entire stretch of Malawi’s three main regions from Mangochi in the South to Salima and Nkhotakota in the Centre and to Karonga and Rumphi in the North.
Lake Malawi is known as the Calendar Lake because it is 365 miles from North to South, 52 miles broad at its widest point, and 12 main rivers flow into the lake.
The six-member crew comprises Farida Matumula from Responsible Safaris Company, journalist and travel writer Diana Liabuba, marine engineer Jorex Chibowa, engineer and film maker Jordan Bennet, Film maker Lucas Johnson and Director of Kumbali Guy Pickering.
Captions: Tourism Minister Francis Kasaila cuts ribbon to mark launch of the expedition on the beaches of Kumbali Lodge in Salima